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Workers in Pack - or alone ?

Discussion in 'Civ4 - General Discussions' started by Mundungu, Oct 17, 2008.

  1. Mundungu

    Mundungu Chieftain

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    Another question about wroker management.

    Being impatient, I like the workers to do their improvements asap, and usually group 2 or 3 together (depending on the game speed).

    Is it a common practice around the players here ?

    I usually try to pack the workers in packs so that they can build (once upgraded to engineers in more modern area) one road on one tile in one turn.

    On a related subject, Is there a table somewhere that show which improvement takes how many turns depending on the game speed and amount of workers used ?
     
  2. Quotey

    Quotey Chieftain

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    Using them in packs is okay so long as you don't group them literally- this reduces worker efficiency as sometimes there will be improvements that need 8 worker turns. On the last turn there'll be one worker twiddling his thumbs if you used 3 workers initially, so you've wasted a turn.
     
  3. Wolfshanze

    Wolfshanze CFC Historian

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    There's nothing wrong with pairing workers, but it's not faster (in the long run) then doing them in singles... you just get portions of big projects done quicker, but if all your workers are working, the end result is basically the same.

    For example... if you wanted to create two tiles of Rail-Road on grassland and had two workers, you could put one worker on each of the two tiles, or put both on one tile, then move them to the next tile...

    if you wanted to create three tiles of Rail-Road on desert and had three workers, you could put one worker on each of the three tiles, or put all three on one tile, then move them to the next tile... and again to the next over three turns...

    In either case, the RR would be completed at the same time and the workers would be available for more projects at the same time.

    The general rule of thumb to prevent waste of workers is use PAIRS of workers in standard terrain (Grassland/Plains) and TRIOS of workers in bad terrain (Tundra/Snow/Desert). This will usually prevent you from having workers twiddling their thumbs.
     
  4. 6K Man

    6K Man Bureaucrat

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    Depends what you are using them for. If you have 2 workers, and are going to mine 2 hills for production, and each job will take 1 worker 10 turns (for example), you'll get a production increase faster by putting 2 workers on 1 hill, mining it in 5 turns, and then moving them to the other and mining that one in 5 turns. You'll still have both hills mined in 10 turns, but you'll have 1 hill mined in 5, meaning +3 hammers 5 turns sooner.
     
  5. Willem

    Willem Chieftain

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    I've sometimes had Workers in a team of 5. They can get alot of tasks done in just a single turn. If you have a lot of Workers, which you tend to do if you are at war frequently, it doesn't really matter if one or two of them end up twiddling their thumbs. By the end of the game I have a hard time finding things for all of them to do so it's great being able to have a team that can lay down a railroad tile in a single turn.
     
  6. LordBuildaholic

    LordBuildaholic Chieftain

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    I'm one of those idiots who automates after a while. Typically if I'm chopping I will group a few together
     
  7. LordBuildaholic

    LordBuildaholic Chieftain

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    Quotey says he is concerned about workers "twiddling thumbs"

    Willem says "If you have a lot of Workers, which you tend to do if you are at war frequently, it doesn't really matter if one or two of them end up twiddling their thumbs"

    And even a demigod named Wolfshanze says "This will usually prevent you from having workers twiddling their thumbs."

    Workers in my civ have no fear of Slavery (Serfdom doesn't count), or Theocracy.

    My friends, I rush to tech Emancipation; just for you. My civ games go nowhere and usually end in a Space Race victory cause I'm militarily impotent and play poorly, but, my friends, I say workers in my civilizations are free to do, you know, whatever. Twiddle your thumbs! Twiddle today, tomorrow, forever.

    I'm LordBuildaholic and I approve this message.
     
  8. sylvanllewelyn

    sylvanllewelyn Perma-newb

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    If you want to build two improvements, it's always better for your economy to finish one first then finish another, so you can start working improved tiles sooner. But you have to balance that with traveling time of workers between point A and point B.

    I never have idle workers until modern era at least, so I can say with confidence that grouping up workers is definitely worth it in the industrial era, when railroads allow your workers to travel from point A to point B faster.
     
  9. eris23

    eris23 Chieftain

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    generally i d say one at a time, basically because that way you reduce the general, hmm...lets call it movement friciton. i.e. turns lost due to movement.
     
  10. Airey

    Airey Chieftain

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    If you ask this question, I assume you enjoy micro-management part of the game somewhat.

    Good worker management is vital. It's true somewhat that at the end of the day, all the improvements finish at the same time given the same workers. But it's vastly different if one improved tile can be worked by the new citizen asap, instead of using the 2nd citizen as a specialist, for example. Micromanagement has helped me to jump from Prince to Immortal play.

    It's helpful for me to time my improvement completion on the +1 (same) turn as the city growth so the new citizen can work on the improved tile (ie. the city grows in 2 turns, you can have your workers complete the mine in 3 turns.) This is vital in getting cities up and running quickly.

    To avoid wasting efficiency on grouping, just don't group them. Assign individual workers to the same tile works just the same as grouping.

    To avoid turns lost while traveling, plan your chopping, building roads, and tile improvements so your workers use the most efficient path. This can usually be manipulated by chopping different trees. Also, as game speed slows down, the effect of wasted turns in worker traveling is decreased. Another trick is to build parts of the road when going one way, and complete it on the way back next time. Just remember to cancel the worker's action (right click at the "red circled" worker) at the end of turn if you only want the improvement partially completed.

    IMO, using multiple workers on a single tile has more significance in the beginning of the game when the city growth is rapid. In mid/end game, city growth is rather slow, the only time multiple workers work on a single tile would be for railroad and/or late resources mostly. From my limited experience, the first 100 turns of the game is more worthwhile to micromanage if one doesn't enjoy this type of play.
     
  11. Willem

    Willem Chieftain

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    That's not really an efficient way of doing things. There's always a certain amount of decay by starting an improvement then finishing it later, so you're wasting turns by doing that.
     
  12. Airey

    Airey Chieftain

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    Not sure if there's decay with Improvement. Personally I never experienced it, maybe it's coz I don't leave it for many turns incomplete. If there is, you are right. Nonetheless, with improvements 2 tiles away, for example, I would rather work some road with that 1 turn of movement rather than walking 2 tiles away and do nothing for the turn walking. It doesn't have to be roads, can be done with Cottaging and any improvements. I don't know any other way of not wasting turns by walking to the designation directly while doing nothing for that turn. At most, if the partial work is decayed to zero, it's the same as doing nothing while travelling in the first place.

    Ideally we all want to have the infrastructure done in every city so everything is multiplied. But we can't do that. Min loss equal max gain, in a way.

    The one thing I can think of that might be wasting turns is if the targeted tile is going to cost the worker 1 turn to move even if it's right next to the worker, ie. Jungles, Trees, Hills. In those cases, might as well use the 1 turn to move directly when 2 tiles away.
     
  13. Perfxion

    Perfxion Chieftain

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    You can hit the route to button and have it build a road to whatever they are going to improve next. then it just doesn't matter of that wasted turn.
     
  14. Willem

    Willem Chieftain

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    I'm pretty sure there is, though I'm not entirely positive. There is for everything else so I presume the same applies to Improvements. If so you're far better off finishing off something once you start it than going back to it later.
     
  15. CouNterOrdeR

    CouNterOrdeR Chieftain

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    Always pair my workers. 2 pairs for every 3 cities is often how things work out for me. I cant stand to see lone workers, soooo slow. I dono i dont find i ever really want to improve more than one tile at a time(per city i mean) and if i do well thats where the 2nd pair comes in; maybe im this way cause of marathon, you dont wanna wait 18 turns for 1 worker to finish 1 project lol.
     
  16. Solomwi

    Solomwi Chieftain

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    Thumb-twiddling is no reason to avoid grouping workers. Let's say you've got a group of three workers that you assign to do something which takes 5 worker-turns. On the second turn, when the job is finished, that thumb-twiddling worker still has his movement points available. Just click on the group, then select that worker to have him leave the group and start something else. I do this all the time, especially once railroads come around and when I'm improving captured cities with worker-gangs. 4-turn mines, 5-turn farms, 3-turn railroads, etc., mean I want some flexibility in my worker-gangs.

    On decay, there is none, or if there is, it's insignificant. I just ran a WB test where, on turn 0, I put 4 turns into a 7-turn floodplains watermill (all techs known from the start). As expected, my fifth worker, who did nothing, showed 3 turns left when I moused over the watermill button. I then did nothing but cycle through the turns, checking to see how many turns were left on the watermill every five turns. At turn 100, it was still 3 turns. That satisfies me that it's nor a problem with Airey's technique.

    To clarify what Airey's talking about, imagine the following situation. you have a worker two flat tiles away from an unimproved resource tile on a river. The river will bring the resource into your cities. Instead of moving over both tiles on turn X, and starting to improve the resource on turn X+1, or roading the in-between tile fully, then starting the improvement on turn X+2, you move to the tile between the worker and resource on turn X and lay down one turn of road. On turn X+1, you then move into the resource tile and begin improving it. On turn X+2, if you want, you go back and finish the road, or you just wait until you either really need the road or you have a similar situation that allows you to finish it, essentially at no cost. Compared to finishing the road first, you've gotten the resource a turn earlier, making you a little bit better off for not having finished the road once you started it. Compared to moving straight to the resource, you're a little bit better off for not having wasted a worker turn.

    Back to the general OP question: I tend to prefer gangs of workers, but for somewhat different reasons in the early and late game. Early on, I want my workers to be just ahead of my cities, so that there are one or two improved tiles that a city can grow into. This is easiest with grouped workers, since they can finish improvement A, then work on improvement B while the city is using, or growing into, A. Using lone workers, I run a greater risk of the city working an unimproved tile while two workers finish side-by-side improvements. Later in the game, I have a much larger empire, and many more workers, and I want them concentrated on high-priority tasks, like getting the railnet extended to my military frontiers, or getting that new city's hinterlands developed so it can just grow without me keeping workers tied to it. It also helps to only have to direct, for example, 1/3 of my workers (if they're in groups of 3), from a turnplay standpoint. I'll use the opposite approach for less important projects for the last reason, too, and direct a lone worker to build a route to that near-useless tundra city, knowing he'll be out of my hair for several turns.
     
  17. Bushface

    Bushface Chieftain

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    I disagree with Solomwi: the counting is wrong in the two-tiles-to-a-resource example. The quickest way to get the resource is to move the worker there in turn 1, then develop the resource, and build the road after that if necessary - not to connect the resource, because the river does that, but to speed up later movement. There is no need to use time building the road to the resource.
    When linking cities in my empire by rail, which my AI opponents all too rarely do, I put two or three separate workers on a tile so as to get fast access as far as possible as soon as possible; more such gangs further along the route whenever possible. While it's true that the rail link between A and B won't be completed any quicker like that, travel is faster if even part of the rail link exists rather than waiting for the whole job to be done at the same time. I said "separate workers", but then I'm deeply into micromanagement.
    I've found that using "route to" isn't always suitable except across flat, open land. The chosen route will indeed be the quickest to build, but at the cost of avoiding hills and forests where I shall, in time, want rails for the production boost.
     
  18. Solomwi

    Solomwi Chieftain

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    You're wrong on the first part. By moving the worker directly to the resource, you waste one worker-turn. Think about it this way. In a space of two turns, the worker has 4 movement points, that can be used either to move or build. Doing it your way, he uses 2 to move on turn 1 and 1 to build on turn 2. That second movement point on turn 2 doesn't go into the resource improvement. It's lost. Doing it my way, you use 1 movement point to move and one to build on each turn. The resource improvement is finished in the same amount of time either way, but my way also gives you a head start on the road. Remember that the road in this scenario is being built on the tile adjacent to the resource, not the resource tile.
     
  19. Airey

    Airey Chieftain

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    Techniques to add onto OP's and Solomwi's points:

    How I view the benefit of road building in the beginning is essentially three fold:

    1. Personally I use it as travelling gap filler - just something for my worker to do while walking towards the next improvement. Please note that one doesn't have to complete the road building in the first place. For example, if the road takes 6 turns to complete, one of my worker can just finish 1/6 of it while passing by every time. After the 1/6, I just move my woker to the adjuacent tile and improve the important tile first.

    2. By completing the road in the future, it allows me to a. move my millatery force quickly, and b. my worker can travel further and build another 1/6 road for 1 turn and move to another tile improvement further from the starting point.

    3. There are times when a city is growing slower, it is beneficial for 1 worker to go to hill/jungle/forest and build a road while the rest of the workers is improving a cow tile (for example). Because when the timing is right, I can have all the worker working on that Banana tile in the jungle with no turns wasted. ie. If I had 5 workers going to the jungle, I would have 5 works loosing 1 working turn. If I had 1 worker going in and scarifice himself and build road, then when it's done, the rest of the 4 workers can go in and work on the same turn as they move in.

    Anyways...just some ideas to improve games. Worker management is only a part of micromanagement. All black horse is a horse, but not all horses are black. Have fun with the game. After all it's just a game cheers~

    In addition to Solomwi's detailed explaination of worker usage, one can also use worker in war as baits to allow millitary to gain preferable terrian tiles and/or positions. Because worker don't die, nor take a damage, you don't have to scarifice an archer (even if not dead you have to wait until it heals), it's a great way of luring AI's army out of strong holds (including defending city). One will be able to get the worker bait back anyways.
     
  20. TheMeInTeam

    TheMeInTeam Top Logic

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    Keep in mind that game speed alters the efficiency of grouped workers.

    Also, the micro and attention required to avoid wasting worker turns by grouping them for appropriate things and ungrouping them for others is probably just as annoying as just controlling single units. On the other hand, I guess you'd make out better than automated workers via grouping so it's up to you which you do there, but IMO controlling them one at a time is probably best, although it often isn't going to matter.
     

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